Saturday, 20 October 2018

Hampi - A monochromatic viewpoint - Part I

Hampi, the place that has fascinated me time and again and each time I visit Hampi. A part of me stays back over there amidst the magnificent ruins that seem to have a new story for me each visit. Their silent whispers somehow find their way to my heart and their charm and beauty have me intoxicated. Each visit I bring back a part of Hampi also with me, in form of memories and images, but somehow to this day have still not got the feeling I am doing justice to the place that exudes magic from every rock, stone and pebble.
However here is a small attempt to showcase all I can in just monochromes. I am partial to monochromes and kind of addicted to them too and I guess by now it is really obvious.
So here goes my expression and a humble request to all of you to view all the 3 parts of this rather lengthy (but interesting) blog, which again I still feel does not do enough justice to the magic called Hampi. The one place to which I've an unending infatuation.
The magnificent Virupaksha temple as seen from the Matanga Hill, decorated with the low hanging clouds and the skeletons of the stalls lining the sides of the pathway. On a monsoon day, the sight is even more pretty with a recipe of cool breeze atop the Matanga hill almost lulling you into a dreamy state as the clouds shield you from the sun and the birds and macaques keep company as you stare towards the temple standing stoically with all its glory almost intact.
A side entrance to the Pattabhirama Temple. One of the beautiful temple that is closer to Kamlapur. A silent spectator to the many footfalls over the years as generations have come and gone but this beautiful structure still stands on, though it looks like time has taken a bite out of this decorative tower.
The temple tower over the entrance to Vittala temple with designs so detailed and intricate that even with all the damages to the structure it still stands gloriously as an incredible example of perfection  in imperfection.
Possibly one of the most photographed trees ever, the Firangipani tree in the courtyard of the Vittala temple, over a century old and still so young, adorned with a different look in different seasons and a haven for the plum headed parakeets that noisily play around the branches. Close your eyes and just run your hands in the twisted and turned trunk of the tree and the kind of peace that overcomes you will be magical. It almost feels like all your stress is sucked away and only a sense on calm remains.
The legendary stone chariot in the Vittala temple premises, originally a shrine to Garuda and now the most sought after tourist attraction. The elephants in front of the chariot having now graciously replaced the horses that were once there as the chariot pullers. The dome ( which was seen during the 1800s) on the chariot now missing indicating the effect of time over the centuries.
The monolithic four handed Sasvekalu (mustard) Ganesha near the base of the Hemakuta hill sitting tall and is the first to welcome us before we make our way to the other monuments, in the most adorable way, with the snake around his belly. With vandalism taking a toll on the left hand, which has subsequently been reconstructed to give the whole and still a magnificent  look.
In the medley of temples and architectures to visit in Hampi, the underground Siva temple somehow seemed to be the most silent of all to me. It is is beautiful and mysterious no doubt. Why is it underground and has it always been like this. This temple also requires a certain amount of courage to get into. Being underground and almost always having water on its flooring which is supposed to be coming in from the Tungabhadra , bringing along with a few snakes to join in the party, that and with the amazing bats now making it a home. The smell and the overall effect can be a bit discouraging. But do take a look in one of the dryer seasons when the water level is lower and it is curiously fascinating.  Like I've mentioned this always seemed to be the most silent of all structures because I've not heard it talk to me yet. But hoping one day I'll be able to hear what it has to say.
This fascinating structure that needs no introduction...The elephant stable with 11 enclosures and incredible Indo Islamic architecture has always intrigued me. The small openings near the center 3 stables have staircases that lead to the top. I've always wanted to check it out , but of course it is locked and the squirrels now have a very secure home there and I would not be lying if I said I was a bit jealous that they could explore this amazing structure more than me.
The coolest structure in more ways than one in the Zenena enclosure, the place for the royal ladies to relax and enjoy the cool breeze even in the hottest of the days, the architectural marvel, the Lotus Mahal.
It is impossible to look in any direction in Hampi without a piece of art staring right back at you. Every rock is a treasure and has some magic or other hidden in it. The other wonderful part is when you just sit back on a rock late in the evening and feel the warmth of the sun soaked boulder seeping into every part of you, a sigh escapes inadvertently when the soothing warmth drains all your stress away. The rocks are indeed healing..
Signing off on part 1 of this monochromatic journey to Hampi with Bhima returning back after many battles holding the Saugandhika flower for Draupadi. Though not as popular as the other structures, the Bhima's gateway is a classic example of the military architecture of the Vijaynagar empire and yet there is a softness about the whole structure when you see Bhima the strongest of the Pandavas showing his softer side with this statue of him holding the flower for his wife.
Please follow part 2 of this journey here.

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Photographs and work by Tharangini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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